AST: The next step

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Xen
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AST: The next step

Post by Xen » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:09 am

Our 2nd anniversary caused me to reflect on the journey so far. What might have been and what the future holds with the options available to me.

It's fair to say that All Scale Trek met the needs of the (Trek) scale modeling folk. Those scratchbuilding, kitbashing, glue bonding, puttying, sanding loonies that love warp factor starships of the styrene and resin variety seem happy enough. With minimal promotion, you signed up and made this place "home". I thank you for that and the time you take to contribute (including the silent masses for visiting). I hope AST is a nice place to hang out.

However, I feel I've let the gamers (fans of "tiny" ships and those of you that play the board games) and collectors (toys, props and other memorabilia) down. Either there wasn't a need for the extra sections or it's my lack of promotion that's resulted in pretty much zero interest.

Since we launched, my time has become increasingly limited. As such (however stubborn I might be), I've come to realize my limitations and admit defeat. That I cannot achieve the bells and whistles version of AST I wanted to. The blog, gallery and other features. Not on my own.

So, I've decided to ask the AST family what should I do next? Leave it all "as is"? Make AST a modeling only site and streamline the forums? Also, what can I do to make what -does- work, even better (with little tweaks)? For example, I wouldn't mind separating the "important / site updates" and "hobby news". I could give folks access to post interesting tidbits they find on the net.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the above topics.

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Re: AST: The next step

Post by TrekMD » Sat Oct 04, 2014 2:20 pm

Times does fly and it is hard to believe that two years have gone by. Perhaps you should look at what has become the strength of the forum and move up from there. The site has definitely become a great site about Star Trek model making and, given your time limitation, it may be best to focus on making it even better for that area of focus.

You can leave some of the other areas but make those sections smaller, perhaps under a general Star Trek area.
Last edited by TrekMD on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tesral
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Re: AST: The next step

Post by Tesral » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:23 pm

It is not broken, do not fix it.

While the gamer and prop sections do not see a lot of activity I think they see enough to warrant their presence. I get a kick out of the stuff.

And blogs, I question the value. We post in the forums, do we need that is essentially a competing format to draw attention and effort from the forums?

Bells and whistles are not always necessary or even positive.
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Re: AST: The next step

Post by MEATLOAFr » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:21 am

Tesral wrote:It is not broken, do not fix it.

Bells and whistles are not always necessary or even positive.
it's running just fine, the site has hit a good stride, no need to toss it into a decathalon
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Re: AST: The next step

Post by kobayashimaru » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:35 am

Apologies for the flurry of posts,
I find myself with a down-time day (rare this time of year) and am catching up on the forums and printing callibrations, so no forum infringement intended.
Apologies also for thread necro (a little) on this topic... it is a fascinating topic that has come up in the last 2-3months all around the interwebs. I humbly offer some perspective to ideas bounce.

Places that are slightly older, such as Bloomilk by way of example, are finding they're not experiencing new arrivals so much as spambots - its a particular case though, as Bloomilk focuses moreso on the 1/48th tabletop SWM game, and I feel it will experience a renewal as people 'discover' SW:Imperial Assault and the uncanny resemblances between the systems. I might jest over there at Bloomilk about 'blasphemy', but they're all a well mixed crew from all around the world, and they're all Sci-fi fans at heart (maybe a slight bias in favor of SWMinis). Loads of resources.

Lead-adventure.de too has undergone a slight dip in the longer term average views per day and new memberships, according to google analytics.
It's like the I.I.A.S.A of minis and modelling gaming, and there are many different resources there. People from all over europe and the world trade and chat there. the trade forums are quite lively. heaps of info and reference photos, Especially with dealing with lead minis and pewter, and some how-to guides. The off-topic is good entertainment (though I mainly lurk there). Weird Wars/alt history, sci fi and dystopian threads are great reading/viewing.

I agree that this place - AST,
is becoming more and more awesome as more and more hobbyists from all the different areas come together and switch from lurk mode to 'I'll give it a go' mode hehe. :D
I think the warm and friendly atmosphere of places like AST, Bloomilk, Lead-adventure.de and HCRealms to name a few, goes a long way towards encouraging the change from "lurking/observer" to "sharing the awesome hobby with others". Even if people aren't necessarily in the hobby, I'd encourage lurkers/observers to certainly engage in constructive criticism and feedback.

AST at time of writing is by no means broken as it is,
If having more moderators and people take on more roles to keep things flowing is an avenue to keep this place open, so be it. More hands can make lighter work... too many cooks/chefs can spoil the broth (and somewhere inbetween is awesome).
It can be daunting, so once per month or twice a month (12-26 events) is a good pace for events/contents/posts and periodicals IMHO. I feel also that seasonal adjustments could be taken into account...
I will say I appreciate the pronounced lack of 'wall to wall ads' that some other webpresences are becoming increasingly plastered with.
I also think looking at trades is a good indicator alongside forum activity and posts - though I've always been an advocate of quality vs metrics/quantity. There appears to be a lively trade subsection, with people from over 20 nation-states trading (and counting, from a total 209 at time of writing). Thats a cool achievement in itself! :D

I can speak more to the gaming side of the hobby - that tabletop scale, that fun times playing Tactics or Attack Wing angle. Although, I have built other types of models and find many of the progress builds and tips/tricks come in very handy - AST is becoming a go-to place for trek reference on a lot of things. The private messaging feedback here and elsewhere has been overwhelmingly positive, and extremely informative and constructive - loads of insights without too much said on the subjective taste front; I only wish people wrote on the forum more if nothing else, so as to share that awesome concrit happening in real time.
Don't get me wrong, I have had the odd (and not from here I must say) feedback on some pieces along the lines of 'how much are you charging for that heap of melted plastic? I wouldn't be caught dead paying for something that looked like that..." - highly subjective feedback that doesn't offer too much in the way of areas to improve in.

Circling back to the OPs original questions;
the questions evoke the age old 'how do we quantify stuff and how can things be even more awesome'.
With that in mind, that's how I think a place stays in renewal and diversity - where and how often is the content referenced? Are people talking about AST on other similar websites, like:
lead-adventure.de,
boardgamegeek
dakka dakka,
warseer (though its fast becoming a ghost town according to google analytics)
bloomilk,
HCrealms,
Devart,
cool mini or not,
Starship modeller,
Modelers magic, and so on... to name but a few
And vice-versa, how often are people here linking to those other places and reflecting on stuff from there... :D
We back each other up; often our interests overlap and people collect or hobby in all sorts of places

How often is it brought up or linked to on blogs and elsewhere?
and that's just one language - what other languages & associated websites link into it?


Can AST do more for gaming scale or action figure or paraphernalia/memorabilia collectors?
Perhaps, though there's already some content (again, decent quality stuff) and will probably be more as people get onboard.
I've found there to be considerable overlap between here and boardgamegeek, leadadventure.de and Si-Soldiers/ Spacegobbie in the gaming scale, so perhaps people are already more established elsewhere and so are less inclined to (or able to due to realworld stuff) to post in multiple places.

That, and many are on *shudders* facebook groups or youtube, tumblr and elsewhere, and are less inclined to delve into classic forum style formats.

Do I think that op-eds and dedicated Blogs are needed as an AST thing? nah. We have threads that accumulate with time which cover loads of stuff, and for things that are off topic, there's even a general and off topic area for that hehehe. Maybe the occasional poll on things, the odd friendly contest (which both are already done)...

------
But after all that reflection,
it could simply be that hobby time and recreation hours are becoming endangered species due to realworld doing its thing... that, and not everyone is into sci-fi, much less Trek. :D
People unfortunately are finding it harder to squeeze time in the hobby in, and as other forms of recreation (computer games, its boardgames/models'+' ) proliferate, it may just be some branches of the hobby are on the wane.

So, maybe a banner change every so often (not the AST logo or font, but as cool as the galaxy X is... some other factions or vehicles need some TLC... maybe better yet, an image of a model made by the folks here could be on the banner for the new banner?). It's like an oil change once in a blue moon.
That could be a periodic poll, and double as a fun contest.
Maybe those of us that can, can reach out to the 3D art area and to the concept art side - I have noticed a slight gap in fan art heh (though, ostensibly the models themselves are the art heh.).

I'll do my part to try and crossadvocate for all things sci-fi-y,
especially for inclusive stuff and scratchbuilds (pepakura and scratchbuilds can be recycling too).
Thanks for reading and I hope AST has a long road ahead of it (* cue Enterprise introtheme).

-----
Q's for the reader
Do googlehangouts/facetime or 'podcasts' interest people? Are they already happening here? Why or why wouldn't you be interested in this avenue?

What level of ads would you be (un)comfortable with, and where ought ad stuff go to? How would disclosure and ads work out?

Similarly, how would people feel if suddenly AST was all in LCARS format for the forum look? Is that too far?
what about a banner per vehicle per month (theres at least 2-3 years worth of unique vehicles banners to go with)?

Should holidays such as sto'vo'kor day or first contact day be recognised (with front page changes)?

how can we encourage people to engage here as well as in other webpresences they may already have been/are at?
- is there some way we can perform something like the 'wayback machine', and back some stuff up for posterity? (particularly photoref of vehicles)
- Is that an exercise people would be wanting to do? (I wouldn't argue in favor of it, as search engines and wayback machines already exist).

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